Snowden's Leaks an Act of 'Public Service,' Holder Says
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder took issue with “the way” Snowden exposed information. But what actually happened to those who worked through the traditional channels and revealed wrongdoings to their superiors?
Thomas Drake, a senior NSA person who complained about wrongdoings by the NSA to his superiors, discovered that telling the truth to his superiors will not solve the problem. He was arrested, charged with severe crimes, his superiors lied to a federal judge and withheld information from the court, and he faced financial ruin. He later found a job as a simple worker at an Apple store with his reputation destroyed (The Guardian, “How the Pentagon punished NSA whistleblowers”).
John Crane, a Pentagon official whose job was to protect whistleblowers found to his shock that he was eventually prosecuted himself. He was made to resign in 2013. (The Intercept, Vindication for Edward Snowden From a New Player in NSA Whistleblowing Saga).
According to Mark Hertsgaard, Snowden learned from the mistakes made by Drake and that was what saved him. Hertsgaard told The Intercept: “When people look at Edward Snowden, he’s the most famous. What they don’t realize is just how exceptional he is. He actually got his message out and he lived to tell the tale. … That is highly unusual. In most cases, whistleblowers pay with their lives to save ours.”
Next year, results of a new Department of Justice investigation into how the Department of Defense treats whistleblowers will become public. One should be forgiven for not holding his breath, but Holder should examine how past whistleblowers were treated before suggesting that Snowden “harmed American interests.”